SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2 0 1 9 R H O D E I S L A N D R E C R E A T I O N A L SaltwaterFishing Theofficialregulationsprovidedbythe RhodeIslandDivisionofMarineFisheries RhodeIslandDepartmentofEnvironmentalManagement QuonnieBoatLaunch–Pg.6 2019RecreationalRegulations–Pg.12 StriperandFlukeAssessment–Pg.16 Feel the Bite!

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 1 1 State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Governor Gina M. Raimondo RI Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit Bureau of Natural Resources Deputy Director Dean Hoxsie Assistant Director Catherine Sparks Division of Marine Fisheries Chief Jason McNamee Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council Chairman Robert Ballou Members Travis Barao Andy Dangelo Jeff Grant Jason Jarvis David Monti Christopher Rein Michael Rice, Ph.D.

Mike Roderick Rhode Island Marine Recreational Fisheries Program Principal Marine Biologist John Lake Christopher Parkins RI Division of Marine Fisheries – Marine Fisheries Section 3 Fort Wetherill Rd.

Jamestown, RI 02835 (401) 423-1923 Cover Photo Courtesy: C-Devil II Sportfishing 2 0 1 9 R H O D E I S L A N D R E C R E A T I O N A L SaltwaterFishing Photo courtesy of Pat Brown Table of Contents 2 .  WelcomeLetter 3 .  NotableCatches 4 . . GeneralInformation 4 .  RhodeIslandEnvironmental Police–Divisionof LawEnforcement 5 .  RecreationalSaltwater FishingLicense 5 .  AquaticResourceEducation Program(DiveFlagAwareness) 6 .  Article– QuonnieBoatLaunch 7 .  RhodeIslandGame FishAwardProgram 8 . . Article– APAIS 9 .  FishingKnots 10 .  AvailabilityChart 10 .

 HowtoProperly MeasureaFish 12 .  2019RecreationalRegulations 13 .  StateRecords 14 .  Article–FlukeResearch 16 .  Article –  Striper and Fluke Assessment 18 .  CommonlyCaughtSpecies 20 .  AccessSites 22 .  Lobster/CrabRegulations 23 .  EquipmentRegulations 24 .  ProperShellfishHandling 25 . . ShellfishRegulations 26 .  Article– HabitatEnhancement 27 .  Article– WindTurbines 28 . . Party/CharterNotableCatches 30 .  Party/CharterBoatDirectory 32 .  Bait&TackleShopDirectory

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 2 2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide On behalf of Governor Raimondo, I am pleased to introduce the seventh annual Rhode Island Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide. The Ocean State offers some of the best saltwater recre- ational fishing anywhere. Whether you fish the waters of Narragansett Bay or the coastal waters stretching from the south shore out to Block Island and beyond, anglers in Rhode Island have many fantastic opportunities to enjoy the diversity and abundance of our local catch. As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an impor- tant role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and sup- porting a treasured tradition for Rhode Island families.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16+) in Rhode Island. And recreational fishing contributes more than $130 million to the economy each year. People love to fish in the Ocean State!

This guide is written for both novice and seasoned anglers. I hope you will find it filled with useful information on our efforts to provide superior recreational fishing opportunities in Rhode Island as well as with helpful guidance on fishing regulations. In these pages, you will learn about new habitat restoration initiatives, APAIS Program, aquatic resource education programs, striped bass and summer flounder management, wind farm research and much more. Many local busi- nesses that provide fishing-related services and supplies are also featured. This is your publication, funded by contributions from saltwater anglers, including the fed- eral Sportfish Restoration Program and the Rhode Island Recreational Saltwater License Pro- gram.

Thanks to your support, our Marine Fisheries Division carries out a range of programs and activities supporting the interests of recreational fishermen. We monitor and conserve our local fish stocks. We work closely with recreational fishing organizations on initiatives like our special shore program for scup. And we continue to engage in outreach and education pro- grams, such as this guide.

Getting people to and on the water is a core part of our mission at DEM. And we invest heavily in improving boating and fishing access to ensure anglers can easily reach their favorite spots on the water or along the shore. We’re excited to report that two major construction projects will get underway this year. At the Quonochontaug Breachway in Charlestown, the existing boat launch will be reconstructed and a new, single-lane courtesy ramp featuring an improved design and orientation will be installed. This popular boat launch is widely used and provides boaters with ac- cess to Quonny Pond and Block Island Sound.

And in the West Bay, a new timber fishing pier will be built at Rocky Point State Park. The 280-foot-long T-shaped pier will feature a shade structure, benches, solar lighting, and varied railing heights that will allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy access to Narragansett Bay.

DEM works in close partnership with the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) to promote recreational fishing and introduce the sport to young Rhode Islanders through a popular fishing camp at Rocky Point State Park. The RISAA Foundation sponsored the first camp in 2016, teaching 50 children how to safely fish from boat and shore, some for the first time. Now in its fourth year, the camp takes place this summer from June 25-27. Little is more thrilling than cast- ing a line and reeling in that first fish – especially on beautiful Narragansett Bay. Kudos to RISAA for bringing this camp to Rocky Point and inspiring both a love of fishing and for this park in our children! It is through efforts like this that we forge the next generation of environmental stewards.

Beyond the fun it brings, saltwater fishing is a great way to enjoy fresh, delicious seafood. From bluefish to scup to our beloved summer flounder, Rhode Island is well known for the wealth of seafood harvested year-round from our waters. But ultimately, whether you fish for fun or food, the common denominator is that you are part of a time-honored tradition made possible by Rhode Island’s amazing marine life. And we are committed to expanding this special opportunity to explore the briny wonders of our state and to providing a sustainable future for our precious marine resources.

I hope this guide enhances your recreational fish- ing experiences. Be safe, respect the great outdoors and each other, and enjoy the magic of fishing in beau- tiful Rhode Island. Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Janet Coit Director Welcome Letter 2 About This Guide This high-quality guide is offered to you by the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife Marine Fisheries Section through its unique partnership with J.F. Griffin Publishing, LLC. The revenue generated through ad sales significantly lowers production costs and generatessavings.Thesesavingstranslate into additional funds for other important agency programs.

If you have any feedback or are inter- ested in advertising, please contact us at 413.884.1001 or at Graphic Design: Jon Gulley, Dane Fay, John Corey, Evelyn Haddad, Chris Sobolowski Williamstown, MA | Birmingham, AL This guide is also available online at Photo courtesy of Nathan Andrews

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 3 Chuck Weishar Got into some nice black sea bass when bottom fishing in Block Island Sound Tom O’Brien Caught his first false albacore shore fishing outside the harbor of refuge Greg Snow Of Snowfly Charters showing off the power of a barbie rod while landing this 30 inch striper while rec fishing Pat Freeman Hoisted this behemoth 13.5 pound tautog from the rocks while bottom fishing in RI NathanAndrews Landed this 20-inch fluke while fishing from shore, in Narragansett Bay Sean Fitzgerald Enjoying a cold fall day bottom fishing for tautog in Narragansett Bay Pat Harkin Wrangled this hefty false albacore to the boat on a beautiful Fall day Maggie Rodrigue Caught this nice fluke while bottom fishing in RI over the summer Ron Gravel Took advantage of a bluebird day to enjoy some Rhode Island striped bass action Robert Malouin Taking advantage of some fast action False Albacore on the fly 3 2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide Notable Catches If you would like to share your notable catches with us and have the chance to see them in next year’s fishing guide, please send pictures and information to Background photo courtesy of Nathan Andrews

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 4 GeneralInformation Rhode Island Environmental Police – Division of Law Enforcement John Mcilmail, Acting Chief The mission of the Environmental Po- lice is to protect our natural resources and ensure compliance with all envi- ronmental conservation laws through law enforcement and education. The history of the Environmental Police dates back to 1842 when the first game wardens were appointed to the Commission of Shellfisheries. Today, Environmental Police Offic- ers are sworn law enforcement offic- ers who are responsible for patrolling and enforcing all laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the state’s fish, wildlife, boating safety and marine resources as well as all crimi- nal and motor vehicle laws within the state parks and management areas.

Officers patrol over 60,000 acres of state land, 92 salt and freshwater boat launching and fishing areas, 300 miles of rivers and streams, and 417 miles of coastline. They are also cross-depu- tized with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Ser- vice and the National Marine Fisheries Service. During their patrols, they educate the public on the protection of our natural resources and provide safety for the public while enjoying Rhode Island’s outdoors. To report violations, please call: (401) 222-3070 Our Mission.. The Division of Marine Fisheries mission is to ensure that the freshwater, marine, and wildlife resources of the State of Rhode Island will be conserved and managed for equitable and sus- tainable use.

The Division is divided into three separate sections: Marine Fisheries, Freshwater Fisheries, and Wildlife Management. The Marine Fisheries section conducts research and monitoring of marine species to support the effective management of finfish, crustaceans, and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance. Some of the programs and projects that the Division is responsible for to support the proper management of marine species are resource assessment surveys includ- ing the Division of Marine Fisheries trawl survey and the Narragansett Bay and Coastal Pond Seine Surveys, as well as shellfish relaying and transplants, sea and port sampling, stock assessment modeling work, and aquaculture and dredging project permit reviews.

The Division is also responsible for developing and maintaining a wide array of regulations on marine species including setting seasons, size limits, harvest methods and equipment, and daily possession limits.

The Division provides information and outreach materials, including press releases, brochures, website, fact sheets, and this fish- ing guide to convey regulations and marine related topics to the regulated community and general public. The Division also works closely and collabor- atively with the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC) to advise the DEM Director on a multitude of marine related matters. Log your catch, try our new data collection app! Download the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife VOLUNTARY recreational on-line angler logbook or download the SAFIS mobile application for iOS, Droid, or Windows.

Just follow the link on the page to sign up and get started. Party/Charter boat captains using the app can increase their tautog bag limit. Email john.lake@dem.rigov for details. If you have any questions about this guide or Rhode Island’s marine recreational fisher- ies, please contact: John Lake Principal Marine Biologist 3 Fort Wetherill Rd. Jamestown, RI 02835 (401) 423-1942 Marine Fisheries Laboratory located in Fort Wetherill, Jamestown, RI Photo courtesy of Patrick Brown

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 5 RecreationalSaltwaterFishingLicense What Rhode Island Anglers Need to Know In order to fish recreationally in Rhode Island marine waters, and in offshore federal waters, anglers and spearfishers must have a RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License, OR a Federal Registration, OR a license from a reciprocal state. Overview The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is a compre- hensive new nationwide data collection and reporting system being implemented by NOAA Fisheries. All RI license information, as well as that collected by NMFS and other states, will be incorporated into a na- tional registry of recreational anglers, enabling the new MRIP program to readily survey current fishermen and more accurately assess recre- ational catch and effort data.

That information will lead to improved state-based assessments and more fair, accurate, and effective manage- ment programs for Rhode Island’s marine recreational fisheries. Reciprocal States Rhode Island residents may use their RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License to fish in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License holders from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine need not obtain a RI Saltwater Recreational Fishing License if they posses a valid license from on of the states listed above.

Please refer to pages 22 and 25 for information on lobster, shell- fish, and other recreational licenses. Recreational Saltwater Fishing License License Type Fee RI residents (annually) $7.00 Non-residents (annually) $10.00 7-Day license $5.00 • Available online at: • Also available from certain bait & tackle shops. A list of vendors can be found on the recreational license webpage. • Applies in all RI waters, all offshore federal waters, and in all neigh- boring state waters for finfish and squid.

• Free for RI residents over 65 and for active military stationed in RI.

• No license needed for children under 16, nor for anglers on party & charter boats. See website for additional exemptions. Photo courtesy of Chris Parkins Dive Flag Awareness SCUBA, skin-diving and snorkeling are all common activities in Rhode Island waters. When participating in any of these activities participants must display a flag warning boaters of their presence under water. Divers and boaters are required to follow the regulations below to ensure a safe and fun time above and below the water.

• Boaters must maintain a safe distance of 50 feet from a dive flag, un- less the dive flag is in a place that obstructs navigation • A warning flag shall be placed on a buoy at a place of the diver’s sub- mergence. The flag shall be red in color and at least twelve by twelve inches (12” x 12”) with a white stripe running from the diagonal corners and the stripe one quarter (1/4) as wide as the flag. • If not placed on a buoy, a warning flag shall be conspicuously flown upon a vessel which the diver is then using in the area. This flag shall meet the description above, however, it shall be at least eighteen by eighteen inches (18”x 18”).

• The flag must only be flown during diving activity and should be taken down during transit • No person shall use a dive flag in an area that obstructs navigation • Divers should ascend slowly and cautiously, ensuring that they are within the 50 foot safety zone around the flag

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 6 By JillianThompson, Conservation Engineer and Emily Koo, Public Access Coordinator, RI DEM Planning and Development Article:QuonnieBoatLaunch ConstructionOfANewBoat LaunchAtQuonochontaugPond In 2019, DEM will construct a new boat launch with a floating dock at Quonochontaug (Quonnie) Breachway in Charlestown, Rhode Island.

A popular destination for boaters, anglers, paddlers, and summer tourists alike, Quonnie Pond offers picturesque views and sandy shoreline while the breachway connects boaters to Block Island Sound. The coastal salt ponds are an immense asset to public recreation and revenue in Rhode Island. The deepest and most saline, Quonnie Pond is over 700 acres in area with over 80 acres of salt marsh, which host vital fish and bird populations. Commonly caught fish species in the area include striped bass, black seabass, tautog, scup, summer flounder, and bluefish.

The breachway was once a natural channel that opened and closed periodically but was permanently opened by the Army Corp of Engi- neers in the 1950s with the placement of armor stone along the shoreline. These are the large granite rock walls that can be seen as you drive along West Beach Road to access the parking lot and launch area. In early 2018, DEM, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, hired Fuss and O’Neill to develop a boat launch design that would provide safer access for boaters and improve users’ launch and retrieval efforts. The improvements would complement the significant salt marsh restoration and enhancement at Quonnie Pond that was conducted by CRMC in late 2018 and early 2019.

Construction of the new boat launch is slated to begin in Fall of 2019. The boat ramp will be reoriented in a north-south direction so boat- ers can safely launch without having to fight the strong currents in the breachway channel. Improvements will include a new 24-foot wide pre- cast concrete boat ramp and a 6-foot wide floating dock with cleats and rub rails for boaters to tie to when launching or retrieving their vessel. The boat ramp slabs currently in place at Quonnie, originally installed in 1971, will be removed, and large flat stones will be put in their place, offering an additional fishing area.

Much of the funding for the project will be provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program. The Sport Fish Restoration Program is a user-pay, user-benefit program that is derived from taxes on motorboat fuel, fishing equipment, and the purchase of some boats. A portion of the national funding is dedicated to DEM’s Di- vision of Fish and Wildlife, specifically for boating access. This project is an excellent example of how those taxes are used for direct public benefit to improve and increase boating access to the waters of the state. The required matching funds for the project will be provided by the land value of the public access area at Quonnie and saltwater fishing license receipts.

Visit for more information on boating registration requirements and huntfish for more information on fishing licenses. The Nature Conservancy in partnership with RI DEM Division of Planning & Development Is there another boating or fishing access site that you think needs improvement? We would love to hear from you! Contact Emily Koo, Public Access Program Coordinator, at or (401) 222-2776 ext. 7277 Proposed improvements at Quonochontaug Boat Launch Graphic provided courtesy of Fuss & O’Neill

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 7 AwardPrograms First Fish Award APPLICATION DID YOU CATCH YOUR FIRST FISH? PLEASE CUT OUT, COMPLETE, AND SEND THIS FORM TO RECEIVE A SPECIAL CERTIFICATE AND GIFT FROM THE RHODE ISLAND DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE! You can also visit h.php to print out a copy. NAME _ DATE YOU CAUGHT THE FISH _ _ ADDRESS _ TOWN _ ST _ ZIP _ _ EMAIL (optional _ FISH SPECIES _ _ WHERE YOU CAUGHT THE FISH _ _ WEIGHT OF FISH _ LENGTH OF FISH (tip of snout to tip of tail _ _ SIGNATURE OF WITNESS (parent, grandparent, or other responsible adult _ _ RETURN TO: RI Division of Fish and Wildlife / Aquatic Resource Education Program 1B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place / Exeter, RI 02882 Rhode Island Game Fish Award Program Each year, RIDEM-Division of Fish & Wildlife recognizes anglers who have caught freshwater and saltwater game fish of notable size with our Game Fish Award program.

To be eligible, an angler must catch a qualify- ing fish by rod and reel, tie-up or handline by legal means in Rhode Island waters. To accommodate both ‘catch and release’ and harvest fishing, the angler can either take a photo of the fish using a hand-scale and ruler or bring the catch to an official weigh station. The angler must then complete the Game Fish / State Record Award Application, available at www.dem. One award per year is issued for each species of game fish caught that meet the minimum size requirements listed to the right. The Game Fish Award goes to the angler with the largest catch in that species category.

Game Fish Awards are mailed out in the spring of the following year the fish was caught. RI State Record Award The Division of Fish and Wildlife maintains state records on each species of game fish caught in Rhode Island waters. To apply for an RI State Record, the angler must bring his or her legally-caught fish to an official weigh-in station. The fish must be identified, measured, and weighed on a Rhode Island certified, digital scale. The station operator must fill out a Game Fish/State Record Award Application and sign it. State Record Game Fish Awards are mailed out in the spring of the following year the fish was caught.

For a list of official fish weigh-in locations and applica- tions please visit index.php.

First Fish Award Program First Fish Awards are available for children who catch their first fish in Rhode Island. To qualify, an angler must have caught a fish by rod and reel, tie-up or handline by legal means. Applications can be processed without the need for an official weigh-in. Below is the First Fish Award application. It can also be downloaded using the following link: www. First Fish Awards are processed twice a year: once in the fall and prior to the opening day of the following year. Gamefish Award Qualifying Weights/Lengths (Except First Fish Awards) Qualifying Freshwater Weights or Lengths Smallmouth Bass 4 lbs.

Chain Pickerel 4 lbs. Largemouth Bass 6 lbs. Northern Pike 10 lbs. Bluegill 9 in. Brook Trout 2 lbs. Pumpkinseed 8 in. Brown Trout 3 lbs. Black Crappie 12 in. Rainbow Trout 3 lbs. Yellow Perch 12 in. Golden Rainbow Trout 3 lbs. White Perch 15 in. Brown Bullhead 13 in. White Catfish 4 lbs.

Qualifying Saltwater Weights Striped Bass 50 lbs. Pollock 15 lbs. Sea Bass 3 lbs. Scup 2½ lbs. Bluefish 18 lbs. Hickory Shad 5 lbs. Bonito 10 lbs. Blue Shark 80 lbs. Cod 20 lbs. Mako Shark 150 lbs. Winter Flounder 2 lbs. Swordfish 200 lbs. Summer Flounder 8 lbs. Squeteague 8 lbs. King Mackerel 3 lbs. Tautog 10 lbs. Mackerel 1 lbs. Bluefin Tuna 450 lbs. Yellowfin Tuna 125 lbs. White Marlin 70 lbs. Completed Applications Please send all completed applications to: RIDEM- Fish & Wildlife, 1B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place, Exeter, RI 02822, for verification and process- ing. For questions about any of these award programs, email kimberly. or call (401) 539-0037.

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 8 Article:APAIS The APAIS Program Gets an Upgrade! By John Lake, Supervising Marine Biologist, Mike Bucko, Fisheries Technician, Nathan Andrews, Fisheries Specialist, RI DEM Division of Marine Fisheries Rhode Island assumed the role of coordinating the Access-Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS) back in 2016. Since then, we have sought to improve the quality of our data by increasing productivity, efficiency, providing effective outreach, and refining our sampling frame. In simpler terms, RI APAIS is capitalizing on Rhode Island’s many great fishing locations to collect the best data possible and interact with more anglers.

Rhode Island staff have embraced their new role in the collec- tion of recreational data and have met the challenge for the past 3 years. Actively engaging in the data collection process has allowed oppor- tunities to expand the program through the hiring of additional staff, sampling during time periods that were previously not sampled, and developing new technologies.

For the past three years, RI Marine Fisheries has hired two or three additional field staff to collect more interviews. These additional staff make it possible for RI APAIS to record more interviews and improve our data, while at the same time reducing the percent standard error (PSE) around our catch estimates. The additional staff also provide flexibility to sample during times of the year which were previously unsampled. Notably, riding along and observing headboat trips be- tween November and February. These staff members are also engaged in developing new technologies as tools to improve the programs.

Addi- tionally, these tools allow us to train staff to be better at collecting data, monitor fishing activity to direct sampling effort effectively, and improve data collection efficiency. The results have been very positive, Figure 1 displays our improvements in obtaining more angler intercepts. Another exciting development is that, we are trading in our paper and pencils for new electronic tablets. This year, the APAIS program is going digital with the Dockside Reporter! Instead of the big metal clipboards and papers which anglers have grown accustomed to seeing at the end of their fishing trip, Fisheries Technicians will be surveying across Rhode Island’s shores with new electronic tablets equipped with new Dockside Interceptor App (DIA).

RI APAIS staff have been working closely with staff from the Atlantic Coast Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP), Mid Atlantic and South Atlantic Fishing Councils, NOAA Fisheries, and Harbor Light Software to develop the logic and flow of a digital version of the fishing survey. This year, 2019, is the first year for its field imple- mentation and cumulates nearly three years of hard work. Digital technology represents a whole suite of potential improve- ments to the recreational data collection process, notably in data quality and data collection efficiency. The new tablet-based system uses logic to prevent errors, thus improving both the quality and timeliness of the data by reducing the number of edits required for the data to be used for estimating catch rates.

This new efficiency is particularly beneficial to the ACCSP who can now accept data via a digital upload, in lieu of paper forms. Data is submitted immediately after an assignment and immediately available for review. This “instant access” to the data is a vast improvement over the weeks-long process for paper forms to be scanned and uploaded to the MRIP database. Faster accesses to the data will allow for faster data analysis and an overall improved more efficient management process.

This digital transition is not just taking place in Rhode Island. From Maine to Florida, all states are going digital as part of a NOAA Fisher- ies Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) objective. The transition to a digitally based data collection system is viewed as a “gamechanger” for recreational fisheries management and will continu- ally be improved to address other aspects of the program. RI staff are continuing to make improvements to the Dockside Reporter and are key players in the rollout of the new system. We are not done yet! Currently, staff are developing an enhancement to the Dockside Reporter which will include a voice-to-text software system.

The goal here will be to improve the speed and accuracy of collecting biological data at-sea on headboats. The future looks bright for RI Marine Fisheries APAIS Pro- gram. As always, if you see one of our Fisheries Technicians out in the field, we encourage you to take a minute out of your day to answer a few quick questions and measure your catch for that day. Don’t forget to set the hook and set an example for other anglers by participating! Remem- ber: Better Data, Better Fishing – You make it Possible. Figure 1: Number of Angler intercepts in Rhode Island per year between 2016 and 2018 Photo Credit: Sean Moreschi

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 9 FishingKnots These and more fishing knots are available on waterproof plastic cards at Illustrations c 2011 John E Sherry Improved Clinch Knot The improved clinch knot has become one of the most popu- lar knots for tying terminal tackle connections. It is quick and easy to tie and is strong and reliable. The knot can be difficult to tie in lines in excess of 30 lb test. Five+ turns around the standing line is generally recommend- ed, four can be used in heavy line. This knot is not recom- mended with braided lines.

Blood Knot Use this knot to join sections of leader or line together.

It works best with line of approximately equal diameter. Rapala Knot The rapala knot is a popular method to tie a lure or fly to a line such that it can move freely and unimpeded by the knot. Dropper Loop Knot This knot forms a loop anywhere on a line. Hooks or other tackle can then be attached to the loop. 1.  Thread end of the line through the eye of the hook, swivel or lure. Double back and make five or more turns around the standing line. Bring the end of the line through the first loop formed behind the eye, then through the big loop.

1.  Overlap ends of lines to be joined. Twist one around the other making 5 turns. Bring tag end back between the two lines. Repeat with other end, wrapping in opposite direction the same number of turns. 2.  Wet knot and pull slightly on the tag end to draw up coils. Pull on the standing line to form knot with coils pressed neatly together. 2.  Slowly pull lines or leaders in opposite direc- tions. Turns will wrap and gather. 1.  Tie a loose overhand knot and feed the tag end through the eye and back through the overhand knot.

1.  Form a loop in the line at the desired location.

Pull line from one side of loop down and pass it through and around that side of loop. Make 5+ wraps around the loop, keeping a thumb or forefinger in the new opening which is formed. 2.  Press bottom of original loop up through new opening and hold with teeth. Wet knot with saliva and pull both ends in opposite directions. 3.  Pull ends of line firmly until coils tighten and loop stands out from line. 2.  Make 3 turns around the standing line and bring tag end back through overhand knot. 3.  Pass tag end through loop that is formed. 4.  Moisten line. Pull on standing line while holding tag end to close knot.

Pull on both tag and standing line to tighten knot down.

3.  Slide tight against eye and clip tag end. 3.  Pull tight and clip ends closely.

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 10 AvailabilityChart Important Recreational Species Availability Chart Species Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Black Sea Bass Bluefish Atlantic Cod False Albacore/ Bonito Hickory Shad Mackerel Scup Squid Striped Bass Summer Flounder (Fluke) Tautog (Blackfish) Winter Flounder This chart shows the general availability of common finfish species in Rhode Island waters. * Please note that times of peak activity may vary due to water temperatures, prey availability, etc.

POOR GOOD GREAT SEASON CLOSED How to Properly Measure a Fish Total Length Measurement The total length is the maximum length of the fish, from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. The best way to obtain this length is to push the fish’s snout up against a vertical surface with the mouth closed and the fish laying along or on top of a tape measure. Measure to the tip of the tail or pinch the tail fin closed to determine the total length. Do NOT use a flexible tape measure along the curve of the fish, as this is not an accurate total length measurement. When measuring the total length of black sea bass, do NOT include the tendril on the caudal fin.

The Correct Way to Determine Total Length Measurement The Incorrect Way to Determine Total Length Measurement

11 2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide ATTENTION: Striped Bass Fin Clipping Regulation All striped bass recreationally harvested over 34 inches must have their right pectoral fin completely removed. Only remove the right pectoral fin of fish over 34 inch- es that you intend to take home, do not remove any fins of fish when practicing catch and release fishing. This regulation helps ensure that any fish captured dur- ing recreational harvest cannot be sold commercially in Rhode Island or Massachusetts.

No dealer in Rhode Island or Massachusetts can purchase a striped bass with its right pectoral fin clipped. Please do your part and help prevent the illegal sale of striped bass caught while recreational fishing.

The right pectoral fin should be removed as close to the body of the fish as possible. Photo Credit: Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries Photo courtesy of L’il Toot Charters • Take-A-Kid Fishing • Help Build Fish Ladders • Tag & Release Program • Youth Fishing Camp • Public Access Protection • MUCH MORE to protect the future of fishing! SALTWATER ANGLERS FOUNDATION RHODE ISLAND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW!! WHAT WE NEED YOU TO DO... Go to Booth #1321 right NOW and sign up for your RI license plate to be a Special Striped Bass Plate – every plate purchased provides funding for our Foundation!

FREE GIFT for the first 300 people who sign up at the show!! Support our Foundation and get Striped Bass Plates for your car or truck! WHAT WE DO: • Take-A-Kid Fishing • Help Build Fish Ladders • Tag & Release Program • Youth Fishing Camp • Public Access Protection • MUCH MORE to protect the future of fishing! WHAT WE NEED YOU TO DO... Go to Booth #1321 right NOW and sign up for your RI license plate to be a Special Striped Bass Plate – every plate purchased provides funding for our Foundation!

FREE GIFT for the first 300 people who sign up at the show!! Support our Foundation and get Striped Bass Plates for your car or truck! WHAT WE DO: • Take-A-Kid Fishing • Help Build Fish Ladders • Tag & Release Program • Youth Fishing Camp • Public Access Protection • MUCH MORE to protect the future of fishing! WHAT WE NEED YOU TO DO...

Go to Booth #1321 right NOW and sign up for your RI license plate to be a Special Striped Bass Plate – every plate purchased provides funding for our Foundation!

FREE GIFT for the first 300 people who sign up at the show!! Support our Foundation and get Striped Bass Plates for your car or truck! Help us continue: College Scholarships in Marine Sciences Herring Ladders & Restoration Projects Research Projects • Tag and Release Program Take-A-Kid Fishing Day • Youth Fishing Camp and much more!

12 2019RecreationalRegulations 289 Market St. • Warren, RI 401-247-2223 Seasonal Hours: 6AM to 6PM Daily 5AM to 6PM Weekends Come visit “The Biggest Little Tackle Shop in Rhode Island!” We carry a full line of fresh and saltwater tackle.

Our fresh and frozen baits are “Guaranteed to catch fish or die trying!” Our unparalleled service, competitive prices and overall value are why our customers keep returning. We look forward to your patronage. Catch ‘em up! REEL REPAIR 2019 Size, Season and Possession Limits Species Minimum Size Open Season Possession Limit American Eel 9" Open year round 25 eels/person/day or 50 eels/vsl/day for licensed party/charter vessels Black Sea Bass 15" June 24 - Aug. 31 3 fish/person/day Sept. 1 - Dec. 31 7 fish/person/day Bluefish No minimum Open year round 15 fish/person/day Monkfish (Goosefish) 17" whole fish 11" tail Open year round 50 lbs of tails or 166 lbs whole/day River Herring (alewives and blueback herring) & American Shad Not applicable CLOSED Not applicable Scup (shore and private / rental boat) 9" Open year round 30 fish/person/day Scup (special shore * 8" Open year round 30 fish/person/day Scup (party and charter) 9" Jan.

1 - Aug. 31 30 fish/person/day Sept. 1 - Oct. 31 50 fish/person/day Nov. 1 - Dec. 31 30 fish/person/day Striped Bass (see page 11 for fin clipping regulation) 28" Open year round 1 fish/person/day Summer Flounder (general) 19" May 3 - Dec. 31 6 fish/person/day Summer Flounder (special shore)*** 17" (See Possession Limit) May 3 - Dec. 31 2 fish @ 17" person/day 4 fish @ 19" person/day Tautog (Blackfish) Max of 10 fish/ves/day during all periods, except licensed party / charter boats 16" Apr. 1 - May 31 3 fish/person/day June 1 - July 31 CLOSED Aug. 1 - Oct. 14 3 fish/person/day Oct. 15 - Dec.

31 5 fish/person/day Weakfish (Squeteague) 16" Open year round 1 fish/person/day Winter Flounder ** (Blackback) 12" Mar. 1 - Dec. 31 2 fish/person/day ** The harvesting or possession of winter flounder is prohibited in Narragansett Bay north of the Colregs line (line from South Ferry Rd. in Narragansett to Fort Getty; Fort Wetherill to Fort Adams; and Sandy Pt. to High Hill Pt.), as well as in the Harbor of Refuge, Point Judith and Potter Pond. ***  Special Shore Areas: While fishing from shore in the following areas, above special shore possession limits apply: India Point Park in Providence, Conimicut Park in Warwick, Stone Bridge in Tiverton, East and West walls in Narragansett, Rocky Point in Warwick, Fort Adams in Newport, and Fort Wetherill in Jamestown SOUTHERN SPORTSMAN Hunting Lodge, Inc.

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13 2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide StateRecords Rhode Island Recreational State Records for Saltwater Species Species Weight Length Date Location Angler Sea Bass 8 lbs. 7.25 oz. 26” 10/81 Block Island K. McDuffie Pascoag, RI Striped Bass 77 lbs. 6.4 oz 52” 6/11 Block Island P. Vican E. Greenwich, RI Bluefish 26 lbs. 39” 8/81 — D. Deziel Woonsocket, RI Bonito 13 lbs. — 10/95 Westerly R. Gliottone Exeter, RI Cod 71 lbs.

— 6/65 — M. Deciantis Warwick, RI Summer Flounder 17 lbs. 8 oz. — 1962 Narrow River G. Farmer Warwick, RI Winter Flounder 6 lbs. 7 oz. 23” 8/90 Galilee A. Pearson Cranston, RI King Mackerel 12 lbs. 3 oz. 40” 8/00 Point Judith A. Camilleri Chester, CT Atlantic Mackerel 1lb 1.6oz. 14” 11/18 T. Rovinelli Providence, RI Pollock 28 lbs. 8 oz. — 5/95 — A. Jacobs Lincoln, RI Scup 5 lbs. 20.25” 10/90 — J. Yurwitz Block Island, RI American Shad (Closed) 6 lbs. 8 oz. 25” 4/85 Runnins River W. Socha Warren, RI Hickory Shad 2 lbs. 11 oz. 20” 11/89 Narrow River M. Pickering Lincoln, RI Blue Shark 431 lbs.

2 oz. 12’6” 11/06 Cox Ledge G. Gross Fairfield, NJ Mako Shark 718 lbs. 10’6” 6/93 S. Block Island W. Alessi Boston, MA Swordfish 588 lbs. — 8/18 Atlantic L. Banfield Saunderstown, RI Squeteague 16 lbs. 8.72 oz. 36” 5/07 Greenwich Bay R. Moeller N. Kingstown, RI Tautog 21 lbs. 4 oz. — 11/54 Jamestown C.W. Sunquist Bluefin Tuna 1142 lbs. — 9/71 Block Island J. Dempsey Yellowfin Tuna 265 lbs. 6’ 10/97 The Dip R. Hughes Arlington, MA White Marlin 125 lbs. 8’ 0.5” 8/87 S. Block Island J. Luty, Sr. Preston, CT If you believe you’ve caught a new Rhode Island State Record, bring it to an official weigh-in sta- tion to be weighed and measured using a digital scale.

State record catches are determined annu- ally once all data are received for that year. A list of official weigh-in stations can be found on Fish & Wildlife’s Webpage at Showcase your business! For advertising inquiries, please call (413) 884-1001 Missed the printed edition? Askaboutyear-rounddigitalopportunities.

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide Spatial Sex-Segregation in Rhode Island Fluke Article:FlukeResearch 14 Figure 1. Sex ratios of sampled fluke by (A) month and depth categories and (B) size bin and depth categories: blue represents all depths, green is depths > 50 ft, and gold is depths ≤ 50 ft. An even sex ratio (1:1) is demarcated by the red horizontal hashed line. Sample sizes for month and depth category–size bin are labeled under each bar. The error bars represent the 95% confidence interval of each sex ratio estimate. Fluke > 18 in in length were excluded in (B) due to an extreme female skew.

Figure 2. The percent of sampled fluke that were legal for recreational harvest under an 18 in minimum length limit by month and depth bin. Sample sizes for each month and depth bin are printed at the bottom of each bar. By Joseph A. Langan, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography between 2009 and 2016 illustrated this possibil- ity. The researchers showed that the vast major- ity of fluke harvested by New Jersey anglers were female and as a result, went on to suggest a slot limit as a viable management alternative for the recreational fishery (Morson et al. 2012, 2015, 2017).

However, these investigations also showed something fishy was going on- the sex ratio of a boat’s catch varied depending on where it came from. Fluke landed in shallow waters seemed to be female more often than those caught in deeper habitats. While it has been observed in other flatfish like Pacific halibut (Loher et al. 2012) and American plaice (Swain 1997), spatial segregation of the sexes was not known previously in fluke. Further- more, it was difficult to pull apart potential patterns of sex-segregation from patterns of fishing effort and angler behavior. In order to get to the bottom of this phenom- enon, a study was launched by researchers from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) and the Rhode Island Division of Marine Fisheries (RIDMF).

Rhode Island is unique in that the state is swimming in scientific survey data of its marine ecosys- tems. The weekly trawl survey conducted by GSO since 1959 is the longest of its kind in the western hemisphere. In addition, RIDMF has conducted monthly and seasonal fish trawls at stations throughout Narragansett Bay and the Rhode Island and Block Island Sounds since 1979. Utilizing these two surveys, over 1,300 fluke were collected throughout Rhode Island state waters between May and October of 2016 and 2017. Each fish was measured and dissected to determine its sex. The proportions of each sex in each trawl were then compared to a suite of potential parameters, like bottom water temperature, month, and depth, to look for evi- dence spatial sex-segregation and understand what factors may influence it.

The results of this study showed that fluke harvested by recreational anglers in Rhode Island are indeed almost entirely female. For example, under the 18 in and 19 in minimum length limits used in the Rhode Island recre- ational fishery in 2016 and 2017 when the study was conducted, 93.0% and 97.7%, respectively, of the sampled “legal-sized” fluke were female. The size distribution of fluke in state waters was also found to vary throughout the season. Smaller fish were the first to arrive in May before large females reached the coastal zone in late-June and July. The large fluke then began to thin out in August as they presumably headed offshore to spawn.

Interestingly, young-of-the-year fluke were also observed in the trawl samples. After being spawned in the fall and spending winter and spring growing in the shallow areas of Nar- ragansett Bay and the coastal ponds, young-of- the-year fish appeared to move to deeper waters beginning in July. By October, these young fluke made up a large proportion of the fish remaining in state waters before they too migrated offshore. Clear patterns of spatial sex-segregation were observed in the sampled fluke. Females were found to prefer shallow waters while males dominated deeper areas of the coastal zone.

It is not known what causes these patterns, but it For many Rhode Islanders, the opening of fluke season on May 1st is a sure sign of summer. Fluke, or summer flounder, support one of the most important commercial finfish fisheries on the Atlantic coast and one of the larg- est recreational fisheries in the United States (NMFS 2018). In fact, the recreational fishery is so significant that it is allocated a significant portion of the total annual fluke harvest, on par with the commercial fishery (NEFSC 2013). While fluke are managed as one coastwide stock, recreational harvest limits vary among states or groups of states (Terceiro 2018).

This framework was created to allow states flex- ibility in how they meet their harvest limits for their respective recreational fisheries. However, it is important to consider fluke biology in developing these rules each year. Like many flatfish, fluke are sexually di- morphic. This means that the sexes are visibly different from each other. Specifically, females grow larger and faster than males (King et al. 2001). When recreational harvest is regulated by a minimum length limit, as is the case in Rhode Island, this dimorphism creates a risk of removing a disproportionate number of the females that are important for stock productiv- ity.

A series of studies in New Jersey conducted

2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide 15 may be because shallow habitats are warmer and thus help females to maintain their fast growth rates. That said, the sex ratio was not observed to respond to every change in water temperature. Further research will be needed to better understand why female fluke preferentially select shallower habitats. The degree of sex-segregation also changed throughout the season. The catch in May tended to be dominated by small female fluke, before more males and large females moved inshore in June. These males and large females then moved offshore together beginning in August, leaving a population heavily skewed toward young female fluke by October (Figure 1).

Samples from loca- tions less than 50 ft deep were female-domi- nated throughout the season, while locations deeper than 50 ft were male-dominated in every month except October.

Thinking from the angler’s perspective, these patterns combine to suggest a clear fishing strategy to find legal fluke. The pro- portion of fluke in the trawl samples legal for recreational harvest peaked in July (Figure 2). At locations less than 50 ft deep, nearly 40% of the July-captured fluke were larger than the 18” minimum length limit used to regulate the recreational fishery in 2016! All of the sampled “doormat” fluke (here considered fish >24 in) were also observed between mid-June and mid-August. If, how- ever, you find yourself trying to catch those last few legal fluke late in the season, you will want to head for deeper waters.

Deep areas of Rhode Island state waters become warmer than shallow habitats in October as Fall cooling begins to take effect. In addition to identifying and character- izing patterns of spatial sex-segregation in fluke, a statistical model was constructed to predict the probability that captured sum- mer flounder were female based upon their individual total lengths, the depth of the capture location, and the month of capture. The model was found to predict sex correctly in individual flounder nearly 80% of the time. When the model was applied to a large sam- ple of fluke, at the scale of annual recreational catch for example, assigning each fluke pro- portionately between the sexes based upon the predicted female probability produced a very accurate estimate of the sample-wide sex ratio.

In this manner, the model could be used to accurately predict the sex ratio of fluke harvested within Rhode Island waters using capture information that is commonly available to fisheries scientists. However, it is unclear how well the model would perform outside the immediate area. More research needs to be conducted in other locations before the results found in Rhode Island are used in fluke management coastwide. That being said, the clear and predictable patterns of fluke sex-segregation identified in this study suggest that implementation of more targeted spatial fluke management measures to preserve the female spawning stock may be possible in the future.

If you would like to learn more about this research, it was published in February 2019 as an open access scientific paper in Marine and Coastal Fisheries under the title “Evaluating Summer Flounder Spatial Sex-Segregation in a Southern New England Estuary” (https://afspubs.onlinelibrary. This work was a contribution of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Institute and benefitted from monetary support of one of its partici- pants by the National Science Foundation REU Program (OCE-1460819) hosted by the GSO Summer Undergraduate Research Fel- lowship in Oceanography (SURFO).

#1 BAIT + TACKLE SHOP Fishing Charters 410 Gooseberry Rd. Wakefield, RI 401-783-7766 Fishing Equipment • Bait & Tackle Kayak Sales & Rentals • Fishing Line Fishing Licenses • Rods & Reels Salt & Freshwater Bait 157 Main Street,Westerly, RI 401-596-7217 Quality Fishing Products & Services to Get You Fishing Fast References King, N. J., G. C. Nardi, and C. J. Jones. 2001. Sex-linked growth divergence of Summer Flounder from a com- mercial farm: are males worth the effort? Journal of Applied Aquaculture 11:77–78. Loher, T., and J. Hobden.

2012. Length and sex effects on the spatial structure of catches of Pacific Halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) on longline gear. U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service Fishery Bulletin 110:46–51. Morson, J. M., E. A. Bochenek, E. N. Powell, and J. E. Gius. 2012. Sex- at-length of Summer Flounder landed in the New Jersey recreational party boat fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32:1201–1210. Morson, J. M., E. A. Bochenek, E. N. Powell, E. C. Hasbrouck, J. E. Gius, C. F. Cotton, K. Gerbino, and T. Froehlich. 2015. Estimating the sex composition of the Summer Flounder catch using fishery-independent data.

Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science [online serial] 7:393–408. Morson, J. M., D. Munroe, R. Harner, and R. Marshall. 2017. Evaluating the potential for a sex-balanced harvest approach in the recreational Summer Flounder fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 37:1231–1242.

NEFSC (Northeast Fisheries Science Center). 2013. 57th northeast regional stock assessment workshop (57th SAW) assessment report. NEFSC, Reference Document 13-16, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service). 2018. Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2016. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-187, 243 p. Swain, D. P., and R. Morin. 1997. Effects of age, sex and abundance on the bathymetric pattern of American Plaice in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Journal of Fish Biology 50:181–200. Terceiro, M. 2018. The Summer Flounder chronicles III: struggling with success, 2011–2016.

Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 28:381– 404.

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